View Full Version : Hello, I'm New Here And Relieved To Find This Group


WearyWife
11-17-13, 12:31 AM
Hi,
I am married to a wonderful man who has a pretty bad, Imho, case of ADD. We have been married for 9 years, together for 11. We have been coexisting very happily up until about a year ago, when he was laid off his job. (He is retired and has retirement, but chooses to work)

He has always had a problem with losing items and miscalculating appointments, etc and blaming someone else, but these were short lived. We would almost always find the misplaced item and he would acknowledge that he misplaced it, not someone else. He always seems shocked when something is lost, like how did this possibly happen? I find this not surprising at all, since it is a daily occurrence.

Since the job loss, he has been very irritable, argumentative, combative and just downright rude to me over the most innocent of comments. He takes nearly everything I say as a personal attack on him. Everything is critical, or devastating, such as losing some piece of paper, keys, or the lost item dejour. He goes into a horrible tantrum, much like a child would. It has become extremely stressful dealing with this change in him.

I have been at my wits end and am so tired of fighting all the time. (I was married to a verbally abusive man for 13 years, so going down that road again is something I can't do.) I am a two time cancer survivor, CHF survivor and a heart transplant recipient, so I know the value of living a happy, serene life. Life is too short and fragile to waste in an unhappy situation.

I love him very much and want us to be happy again so I am looking for answers, support and hope from this forum. I need to know how to do anything differently to help from my end to make things better. I have felt so alone. Sorry for the long post.

VeryTired
11-17-13, 01:41 PM
Hello, and welcome--

I hope you'll find the Forums as helpful as I have. There's lots of wisdom here.

It sounds as though you have a lot on your plate right now. My first questions would be, has your husband actually been diagnosed, and is he in treatment for ADHD? If not, I think taking those steps are the essential beginning for resolving the problems you described.

My partner had many of the same issues you say your husband does, and nothing worked to alleviate them until he was diagnosed and began taking stimulant medication. The medicine really really helps, but other treatments (not necessarily medication) are possible also. Getting some therapy from a counselor knowledgeable about ADHD can make a lot of difference also.

It was impossible for us to work together to make positive changes in our lives until we both understood the situation that caused our problems. That meant my partner's getting the diagnosis and both of us getting as much information as possible about ADHD. None of this has been easy, but it has helped us a great deal. Without the diagnosis, treatment and learning process, we certainly wouldn't be together now and he probably wouldn't be healthy and stable.

Please keep posting--let us know how it all goes--

ginniebean
11-17-13, 02:36 PM
Retirement adjustment is likely a big problem for him as work brings a lot of structure to your life.

Because of your husbands age and sate of health there may not be a straight forward medication solution. Different times in a persons life mean different solutions.

I suggest writing an email or a letter to your husband. Giving it to him on your way out the door. Tell him how you are feeling, do so without blame and with understanding about his stress, let him know how it's hurting you and your relationship together. Stress that it's not something trivial that the changes are real and damaging.

Tell him you both need to work towards a solution.

Be away for a few hours to let him process what you've said. People with adhd do not process information as fast or as well when there is any emotional charge. This is why it's important to be as neutral in language as you can be.


Hope this helps.

kilted_scotsman
11-17-13, 04:00 PM
If the trigger has been an event.... it's not likely to be the ADD that's cauing the issue, though it could be in the mix....

From what you say it's more likely that the subconscious loss of role may be causing feelings of worthlessness and anxiety....

what is my purpose in life now,

Am I old now... is this it... where did my life go, where went my dreams, is death around the corner....

There's a significant chance that the surface presentation is triggered by a sudden increase in subconscious existential angst......

for some guys , work has been the way to avoid facing the questions of life.... when work goes there is a void.... and with nothing purposeful to fill the mind and body begin pacing like a tiger in a cage.... with anger the result.

Anger is usually a secondary emotion..... it is a more acceptable form of other emotions, usually fear.... if someone is angry... they're fearful....

question is what is he frightened of.....

This is the realm of the therapist....

Psychoactive Med are not the answer to everything.... particularly when one is older

kilted

sarahsweets
11-18-13, 05:58 AM
always try and be a part of the solution. Doing it together can give you twice the support.

WearyWife
11-19-13, 12:30 AM
Thank you all for your advice. That is what I needed. I have only met one other non ADD spouse in my life and that was a brief encounter in the grocery store. I longed to have been able to have talked to her at length.

Yes, he has been diagnosed as an adult and has been in treatment for quite a few years. He is on Ritalin. He says it helps. His Doc tried him on another drug, but that one didn't help.

He spoke some with me today about the stresses of being unemployed since he is used to making plenty of money and the prospect of lowering his lifestyle is not anything he wants to do right now.

I know he will find something. He is brilliant and at the top of his field. I am hoping to find in this forum some better way to respond to the challenges. I want to be part of the solution, rather than being part of the problem.

Y'all have given me some useful information to start with and I am sure that I will continue to learn from you. Thank you so much for such constructive answers. After I posted, I began to worry that I would come off as a whiner. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Hangingon
11-21-13, 11:31 PM
I definitely feel that being under stress makes a successful ADHDer's life all that more chaotic and definitely makes the ADHD traits that much more prominent. At least that is the situation with my husband. He has become quite more obstinate, argumentative, contradictory when under stress and I am the target. It is difficult.

No easy solution. I tell my husband when he is being contra that he is trying to stimulate his brain because he is understimulated and that, to my detriment, he is being confrontational and to find other ways to stimulate his brain other than arguing with me. I distance myself from him in mornings when he tends to be even more defiant that usual. I try to tell myself not to take it personally, that no matter who was there in his sphere, they would be the target as well. To see it for what it is, a manifestation of his ADHD, a means of stimulating his brain so that he can function.

dvdnvwls
11-22-13, 03:24 AM
(I'm a [former] ADHD husband.) When I've been obstinate/argumentative/contradictory, it has not ever been about wanting or needing stimulation at all - it has been about fear and loss and confusion. Hangingon, I'm not sure if your husband is having completely different experiences from me, or whether it might be worth a re-think of that particular assumption. Someone who's just looking for stimulation would get one kind of reaction from their spouse; someone who's afraid and lost would hopefully get a different one.

It's much too easy to misinterpret an ADHD husband's reaction to fear and confusion as intentional aggression, or as stimulation-seeking.

Fuzzy12
11-22-13, 04:34 AM
No easy solution. I tell my husband when he is being contra that he is trying to stimulate his brain because he is understimulated and that, to my detriment, he is being confrontational and to find other ways to stimulate his brain other than arguing with me. I distance myself from him in mornings when he tends to be even more defiant that usual. I try to tell myself not to take it personally, that no matter who was there in his sphere, they would be the target as well. To see it for what it is, a manifestation of his ADHD, a means of stimulating his brain so that he can function.

I agree with dvd, that it isn't necessarily a stimulation seeking behaviour. It could be, of course, in your husband's case but I don't think that's the norm. Definitely not for me. I absolutely hate conflicts and arguments of any sort. THey don't stimulate me. They drain me. Again, like dvd said when I do lash out it's out of genuine frustration, fear and confusion.

I agree with the bolded bit in your post. Sometimes, I think, when someone is in such a bad mood where they are beyond logic and reason (or awareness), the best is to take a step back and let them be. Not taking it personally is something that's very difficult to do (at least for me) and I think, it's brilliant that you can do that. :)

Having said that, I don't think that verbal abuse is something you should have to live with, wearywife. Even if your husband can't take meds, I wonder if this is something that can be helped with through counselling or CBT.

psychokitty
11-22-13, 07:11 AM
When my life changes at all or my schedule changes I really find it hard to cope.
I feel like I got used to one way and when that changes I am left floundering and off balance until I settle down and find my feet in the new system. Until then I feel like everything is chaos.
And the changes don't have to be that big, just the fact that they are changes is enough.

It sounds like life has turned upside down for your husband.

Hangingon
11-24-13, 11:07 PM
(I'm a [former] ADHD husband.) When I've been obstinate/argumentative/contradictory, it has not ever been about wanting or needing stimulation at all - it has been about fear and loss and confusion. Hangingon, I'm not sure if your husband is having completely different experiences from me, or whether it might be worth a re-think of that particular assumption. Someone who's just looking for stimulation would get one kind of reaction from their spouse; someone who's afraid and lost would hopefully get a different one.

It's much too easy to misinterpret an ADHD husband's reaction to fear and confusion as intentional aggression, or as stimulation-seeking.

I am quite aware, dvdnvwls, after 30+ years of marriage, as to when my husband is being confrontational/overly critical and when he isn't. I would not have married him if every morning, we had an argument about, say, whether I should put apple butter or regular butter on my toast, which then escalates into whether I should have bought the apple butter in the first place.

It is anything that can cause an argument with him these days. And if you, dvdnvwls, don't react like this with your ADHD, perhaps it is because you are only ADD (without the hyperactivity) or not Type 3 ADHD, as my husband is, which has an oppositional component, or not quite where he is in the life spectrum. Opposition/defiance are often classic characteristics of ADHD. My husband isn't confused or afraid of much, particularly me lol. As he has aged, he will find ANYTHING to start a debate about, particularly in the mornings. He deflects, ignores, gets mad, gets me mad, and then . . . I end up doing it for him.

It's not just me, although I think you are pretty intent on making me into the insensitive, non-understanding spouse in this forum. His mother tells how he would argue/ignore/cause conflict over homework, doing chores, you name it when he was younger. ADHDers are, in my opinion, quite good at manipulating and getting out of boring jobs they don't want to do. Part of the whole syndrome, which, in my opinion, involves a certain amount of immaturity.

Just letting you know my perspective, as a non-ADHD spouse.

dvdnvwls
11-25-13, 01:29 AM
Hangingon: I think you've had a bit of a misunderstanding. I was saying I've been argumentative many times, and that it was never for the reason that you're saying is the reason behind your husband's behaviour. Of course you know what his behaviour looks like. It's quite possible that you're misinterpreting the reason(s) behind it. I'm not arguing with you - I'm saying open your mind and look again.

sarahsweets
11-25-13, 05:30 AM
It is anything that can cause an argument with him these days. And if you, dvdnvwls, don't react like this with your ADHD, perhaps it is because you are only ADD (without the hyperactivity) or not Type 3 ADHD,
Adhd and Add are the same things but what is type 3 adhd? I have never heard of this before?

amberwillow
11-25-13, 07:51 AM
Adhd and Add are the same things but what is type 3 adhd? I have never heard of this before?

I believe the OP may be referring to Dr. Amen's theory of the Six Types of ADHD.

RedHairedWitch
11-25-13, 01:49 PM
My brain fails to function in the mornings. It takes quite some time for it to get into gear. The ADHD traits are significantly worse (poor memory, high frustration, lack of motivation etc). It's so bad that I am also very clumsy, my motor control is much more impaired. I have to be careful just walking up and down the stairs.

So I'm not surprised that your husband is way worse in the mornings.

For me, if I'm snappish or short tempered, it's more due to a lack of function and ability than anything else.

I have to rely on a simple routine to get me through the morning. Any deviations can throw me for a loop. I also avoid social activity if I can. I always warn anyone living with me that mornings are not the time to talk to me, ask questions etc. This is a coping strategy that works for me. If I am left alone and able to work through the simple routine, then I can be functional enough to be ready for the day and be safe and operational enough in time to get in the car and head off to work.

ginniebean
11-25-13, 03:16 PM
ADHDers are, in my opinion, quite good at manipulating and getting out of boring jobs they don't want to do. Part of the whole syndrome, which, in my opinion, involves a certain amount of immaturity.

Just letting you know my perspective, as a non-ADHD spouse.
This is not a perspective it's a categorical judgement.

Many of us are NOT married, no one's there to do all the things you say we're 'manipulating to get out of". Many of us do it all, and manage well. GEEZ and even when married, worked our asses off.

This is an opinion, and sadly, harsh, negative and wrong.

Hangingon
12-06-13, 03:37 AM
Sorry you feel that way, ginniebean. Yes, I regret that I did not think about non-married spouses when I made my comment. But the forum is for "Non-ADHD Partner Support," so naturally I felt my comments were being directed to non-ADHD married or somewhat so spouses, not single persons. Perhaps when you have lived with an ADHD spouse for many years, you will have some perspective on the situation.


"Since the job loss, he has been very irritable, argumentative, combative and just downright rude to me over the most innocent of comments. He takes nearly everything I say as a personal attack on him. Everything is critical, or devastating, such as losing some piece of paper, keys, or the lost item dejour. He goes into a horrible tantrum, much like a child would. It has become extremely stressful dealing with this change in him."

I would venture that such episodes usually happen in the mornings. I myself have been sadly subjected to them from my ADHD spouse. I have no answers to these episodes, other than to be reticent and compliant, realizing that they are ADHD and stepping back accordingly. Don't take them personally and recognize them for what they are -- ADHD. As much as you put up key holders or set out a change catcher or drawers for items, your ADHDer will NOT put them in their proper place. You can say/remind over and over and he still will not do it. Just a heads up there. Just not wired that way.

Remember to remain calm during those episodes, while also maintaining dignity, reminding your ADHDer that YOU did not lose those items and that you have provided a convenient place for them to be put (not that they would be). And, sorry, when he acts like a child, treat him like a child. You are not REQUIRED to be his mother. And it will only destroy your relationship. Perhaps if you treat him as an utter child, as he is subtly expressing, he will get that you are viewing him as a child also. And will maybe make appropriate adjustments. God speed.